Yes, that product caption at the bottom is indeed "Protect yourself against embarrassing photos."
Eli 11.2 is now 4'11 3/4" tall. 75 lbs. 20/10 vision. Reaction time of a superhero.
After 7:15 AM hockey on Saturday, plus Saturday night hockey, I was worn out from schlepping gear and tying skates and leg pads and whatever. Eli went up for his shower and I stayed downstairs, trying to remain perfectly still in the recliner. Usually, Gloria or I go up with him, just to do pre-bed preparation ourselves, but not this night.
"Go, Diego, Do" was on television. If you don't know anything about the show, the rest of this story will make no sense.
Eli came back downstairs.
"I was going to come up," I said, " but this little boy can talk to animals end he apparently needs my help on some kind of project. I have to say things occasionally to help him along."
Eli starts laughing. "Dad, seriously," he said. "That's Diego."
"There's also a girl he's friends with named Dora, and I think she needs help, too. So I may be here a while."
Eli was mostly asleep on the way to hockey Saturday morning. We leave at 6:20 for McDonald's, which is insane, and while he normally is ready to go, this morning he was out of gas.
I turned up the radio and found the most annoying station I could. "Hey," I said to the sleeping figure in the backseat. "Listen to this." He opened his eyes. Barely.
"It's called 'Funky Town'. It was a big hit, back in the day." I started singing along.
I never sing.
Then I started dancing in the driver's seat. See my previous comment about singing, which also applies to dancing.
Eli started laughing. "Do I need to call 911?" he asked. "Are you having some kind of seizure?"
He woke up. Mission accomplished.
Before Tuesday hockey, we eat at a Freddy's near the rink. We have about an hour, so we eat and then play paper football (if his homework is already done).
Last Tuesday, I was behind 33 to 7.
"Thus begins the greatest comeback in paper football history," I said. "People will speak of this day for many years."
"Because I'm going to beat you by 70 points," Eli said, laughing.
Slowly, the tide began to turn. I got closer and closer, finally went ahead,and hung on to win 73-67.
Four days later, we were back at Freddy's before a Saturday night scrimmage. "Hey, did you know that this place has a landmark flag on Google Maps?" I asked.
"What's that?" he ased.
"Historically significant locations have that flag," I said.
"Why is this place historically significant?" he asked.
"Because it was the site of the GREATEST COMEBACK in paper football history," I said.
"Oh, no," he said, laughing. "Help me."
We were going back to the Cedar Park Center on Saturday night for an 8:45-10:15 scrimmage that was a friend's birthday party. What made it interesting, though, was that every kid who was playing was either on a travel team or development team. High-level.
As I was helping him get dressed out, we talked.
"I know this is just a birthday party," I said, " but when you're in the NHL someday, and these kids all come to see you play, they're going to say 'I knew he was different from the rest of us the night we had that birthday party.' "
Eli started laughing. "That's what they're going to say?"
"Pretty sure," I said. "I mean, it's the future and everything, but I'm pretty sure."
"I better go out there and play lights out, then," he said, putting on his glove and blocker.
"That's right," I said. "Don't screw with the future."
He gave up 6 goals in 90 minutes, 2 on penalty shots that were given instead of making kids sit in the box for a 2-minute minor. He had 50 saves, at least, and stopped 80% of the clean breakways. There were more highlight reel saves than I could even count.
It sounds crazy, but he is different. He looks like a grown-up in a child's body playing goalie.
On Sunday, he was the demonstration goalie for a regional coach's clinic. They had a few short scrimmages at the of the training session, and he made some quality saves against the coaches. He came off the ice with a big smile on his face.
"What's really funny is that they could have shot harder, and you still would have stoned them," I said.
He grinned. "I know that, but they don't," he said.